Dd is 6, her father and I separated when she was 18 months and my now dh has been in her life everyday since she was two. They get on fantastically and he is an amazing father. He is selfless and patient and kind and dd loves him and (rightly or wrongly) calls him daddy.
My exH was abusive to the point where dd and I had to leave, have police involvement and live in a hostel. He sees dd one or two weekends per month, often leaving her with his mum. He knows nothing about her, has no involvement in school and won't have contact if she's ill/he has something else on etc.
Dh and I have an 18 month old together, he has two dc who my dd feels are like brothers to her and dhs parents have replaced the lack of my parents in her life tenfold. The thought of dd going to live with her father if I died makes me feel physically sick. How likely would it be to happen? Is there anything I could do to stop it?
You should appoint him as a guardian for dd in the event of your death and at least DH and father will share responsibility. I'm sure there is other things you could do to strengthen DH's position (e.g gather evidence of past abuse) so that if you did die a court would order dd lived with DH instead of father. But you should see a solicitor - and I wouldn't put it off.
Wills are not my area of expertise however I do have some training. You can write a will and attach a letter clearly outlining why it would be unsuitable for your child to live with her father on your death. This would be read in court. It is not foolproof even if he does not have pr. Ensure your life cover is not available for her use before 18 or 25 as this may make her dad far more interested in having her.
Sorry using a mobile! Keep a diary of what she does when she is at his house, maybe just keep a diary generally. Write down what you and your partner do with her and snippets about things she does with siblings. Maybe it would be used if it went to court afer you had died. Evidencing her happiness with your dp etc.
Thanks for your replies. I have evidence of everything but it was against me, not her, so not sure it'd be taken into account. He is absent in her life to the extent that no one around her - friends, extra-curricular activity teachers etc don't even know he exists. He doesn't have a clue where she goes, what she does etc and isn't interested but would hate the idea of dh having her so I need to make provisions
If you apply for a Residency Order in both your joint names (because you are married) your DH will receive PR. If your X is abusive, I'd recommend you do that anyway, so he can't play silly buggers about child contact, holidays, etc.
That, in conjunction with your wishes for your DH to have guardianship, plus the fact that she can remain in her family home, maintaining her family relationships - specifically a relationship with her sibling - would all come together to make it more likely that a judge would decide that it is in her best interests to stay where she is but with your X continuing contact on the current basis.
But if contact is fine how it is, surely the judge wouldn't agree that a residency order is necessary? I thought they were much less common now as they have been used as a form of control in the past and that shared residency was more common?
It is, but if you want your DH granted PR and it is in your DD's best interests for that to be given, it's the most straightforward way of granting it in a case where your X won't agree to extend PR to your DH. If he would, then you wouldn't need it.
PR given to your DH doesn't remove any of your X's rights, it simply extends them to your DH. And in your case you can make a very compelling argument as to why it's in your DD's best interests for that to happen (quite irrespective of what happens in the event of your death).